Family Christmas Fun

I took a picture of our lit Advent candles for my blog post a few days ago. My 14-year-old daughter saw the picture and said, “Wow. Our house looks pretty in that picture.”

Not to say that our house in reality is not also pretty–in it’s own messy, disorganized way. It’s just to say that, of course, you don’t get the full picture of a house or a family from a blog. So please know that it hasn’t been all jingle bells and fa la la around here the past month. But we have done some fun stuff. And I’m ready to think about and share about the fun stuff.

(Plus, no one took a picture of me with brow furrowed telling my children we were not going to even get a Christmas tree this year because they were just whining and complaining about which one we picked and I was sick of it. Sick of it, I tell you.)

Anyway, here’s the fun part of our Christmas tree farm excursion:


We made cookies with cousins:



We made gifts for teachers and friends:



And we have been using our Advent Calendar most nights. Our nativity scene is getting full. Just waiting for the Holy Family to show up–and of course baby Jesus on Christmas morning!


I pray you are enjoying moments of joy with people you love this Advent and Christmas season!

Monday Prayer Practice

In case you haven’t noticed, I love words. I love reading them and writing them. I love speaking them and listening to them and praying with them. And words can be wonderful, soul-nurturing things.

But my spiritual director recently pointed out that I also use words to distract myself. I use them to place myself in a position of analyzing rather than receiving. So he is encouraging me to release my over-dependence on words and allow myself to receive images from God. The images, he says, can speak to a place deeper than words can reach. The images can rest inside and form my spirit in new ways.

So I am trying.

This morning I began the week on gentleness with the Fruit of the Spirit retreat materials. I prayed the prayer for the week:

Holy Spirit,
Bear the fruit of gentleness in my life.
May the words of my voice,
the movement of my hands,
the leanings of my heart,
reflect your gentle, present, persistent love. Amen.

And I realized that this is the prayer I need this week.  (It was a rough weekend with the teenagers.) I don’t just need this prayer during my morning devotion times, I need it with me all the time. So I decided to make a little prayer card. But instead of writing out the prayer, I used images. (Full disclosure, the back of the card has a quote from Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” Addictions are hard to break. I can’t go cold turkey!)

So here’s my encouragement for you: Choose a brief prayer or scripture passage that you need to keep with you this week. Put it on a card in images rather than words. (My card is 2.5 X 3.5 inches.) Carry the card with you and let the images sink into your spirit.

May you rest in the gentle, present, persistent love of God this week–and always.


Sabbath Cards

I spent some of my Sabbath time this weekend making cards. Not quick and simple cards–those are the ones I make out of necessity–when I need a card ASAP. These are Sabbath cards–made for people I love without regard for how long it takes to make each one. These luxurious expanses of creative time are so very good for my spirit.

I pray that you will find some Sabbath time in your week to do whatever it is that nourishes your spirit and connects you more deeply with the Creator.

For my nephew, who loves Star Wars. And–full confession–whose birthday was this past Saturday.

* * *

For my friend, LaVonne, to send to her baby granddaughter (when she is born next month)!

Cards for Birthdays

I’m not posting creative prayer practices on Mondays right now, because I’m working hard on the materials for the Creative Arts Retreat in Daily Life. But I thought it would be nice to post something creative to start off the week.

So here are some of the invitations that Grace and I made for her upcoming birthday party (a reptiles and amphibians program at the local nature center). And to be honest, Grace did most of the work on these.

And here is the card I made for my older daughter’s 14th birthday today. (She chose a Harry Potter theme.) The figures on the card were inspired by some cupcakes I saw online.